The BC SPCA is applauding the B.C. government’s announcement of permanent funding towards 20 new subsidized seats for B.C. veterinary students at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) on the University of Saskatchewan campus. Last April, the government announced that it was investing nearly $10.7 million to increase the number of subsidized seats from 20 to 40 for 2022-2023 academic year.
“We are thrilled that the funding for these additional seats for B.C. students will continue,” says Craig Daniell, chief executive officer for the BC SPCA. “The demand for veterinary services in our province already outstrips the number of veterinarians available, and this situation is getting more urgent. Not only does this put our pets and other animals at risk, but the shortage has led to increasing levels of exhaustion, burn-out and, sadly, suicide, within the veterinary profession.”
Daniell says the BC SPCA has seen the growing impact of the veterinary shortage on vulnerable animals across the province, particularly in northern, remote and rural regions. “We assist more than 118,000 animals each year and many of these animals come into our care with urgent medical needs. We are increasingly having to move animals to other communities to get timely access to the veterinary care they need.” He notes that the shortage of veterinarians has also had an impact on the BC SPCA’s own veterinary hospitals and clinics. “In August, 2022, we had to make the very difficult decision to close our Burnaby Veterinary Hospital because we were unable to find a permanent, full time veterinarian,” he says. “This announcement of permanent funding to double the number of subsidized seats for B.C. at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine is extremely welcome news for animals, pet guardians, farmers and those who work in the veterinary profession in our province.”